Santa Clara is looking to turn things around after going winless — 0-16 — in WCC play last year. The Broncos lost two of their top players a year ago as forward Marc Trasolini suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason and star guard Kevin Foster was sidelined for the second half of the year following a DUI. With Trasolini and Foster back, the Broncos could make things even more interesting in the league.
Last weekend, Santa Clara threw a bit of a scare into top-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium before falling, 90-77.
The other teams in the league — Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, San Francisco, Portland and San Diego — are each looking to make an impact on the league race.
Pepperdine was picked to finish last, but the Waves are eager to prove doubters wrong.
"We'll do better than people expect us," said Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson. "That's my personality. I like to tiptoe in and sneak up on people."
Wilson said the next two months in the WCC will be a battle.
"It's a tough league. Gonzaga has had a stranglehold on the league for a long time, and Randy's done a great job at Saint Mary's. That's how I look at our program, based on what he's done at Saint Mary's. We're focusing on making progress. We want to gradually get better every season. We're heading in that direction."
The WCC basketball tournament will be held at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on March 6-11.
WCC opener on the air:
Loyola Marymount (7-6, 0-0) at BYU (10-4, 0-0)
7 p.m. MST
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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